Dementia-Friendly Design

One of the questions we received while carrying out some website testing was “Why are the colours so bright?”

We know the colours we have used throughout the website design can pack a punch, but they have all been thought through and chosen carefully, and we wanted to share a little insight into this process.

This website has been designed in collaboration with the Memory Box Project team who shared their knowledge and understanding to help us make the site dementia friendly.

As our main participants in both the Memory Box Project and Memory Box Project Online are people who are living with dementia, it was important for us to get this right. We carefully considered the needs and requirements of those living with dementia and their carers so that they can use the website with ease and take part in meaningful activities.

The colour design of the website was one of the first things we looked at, and has been based on colours reported to be easily recognisable for people with dementia and to help engage the brain in activities.

As stated in this article by uksmobility the colour, hue and chroma of colour can help focus attention by highlighting important elements and drawing attention away from others.

The colour itself can also help with mood and the way in which people who are living with dementia respond to certain activities and visuals, as described in this article from Enabling Environments.

Colour choices

Red: This is a highly stimulating colour which is often used in activity areas to increase brain wave activity and stimulate the production of adrenaline.

Using the information from the MBP team and the evidence in the articles cited above, the colour red has been used as a highlighting colour across the website. Red has been shown to make an area seem smaller, therefore focusing the attention on a small point of interest. This can be seen on the Items page, where each item is surrounded by a red box to help draw the eye.

Yellow: This is another stimulating colour. Stimulating colours are good for Alzheimer’s patients as they can trigger memories and cognitive function.

The MBP logo was designed with 4 colours: red, yellow, green and orange. These colours have been used within the MBPO site, with yellow drawing attention to added areas of activity. For example, getting started and adding your own memories. These areas both require activity from the user and need to be stimulating for activity and memory.

Layout and Navigation


The MBP team has been able to draw on past experience of roles within the dementia care sector to help guide the layout of the website to ensure its usability. We have also invited project volunteers and those working with people with dementia in the care sector to take part in website testing. Feedback has been positive and we have been able to implement amendments before the website launch.

After trialling the website, we adapted the layout and navigation around the site to make it easier to use. Title headings are clear and concise and navigation buttons are used to guide visitors through the website. Icons have been created to help users recognise the recurring Themes and connect items listed under that Theme.

Once on a specific Item page, the gallery of images has been adapted to stay in the same perspective until clicked on, when larger versions can be viewed. Originally, the photos would change between portrait and landscape, causing the viewer to need to scroll up and down to see the full image, causing some visual confusion. The result you see now is much clearer and more consistent.

Careful consideration has been made during all stages and of all areas of the website to help create a dementia friendly website to enable positive and meaningful activity for the users.